I’ve been fondly referring to the past two weeks at home as “Chapter One & A Half: My Life as a Hermit.”
Back-cover summary: A girl walks into a bar…….turns 21, and then leaves to become a hermit. Catchy, right?
In all truth, I’ve spent the last two weeks doing, well...just doing “me.”
For those wondering, that’s somewhere between more than nothing and not much of anything. Having decided pajamas and bathing suits are the only two forms of real clothing, I’ve declared a state of modest indecency. And I’m completely and utterly okay with it.
Life update in a nutshell? I made it through finals (read: the Dark Ages) and tasted just a smidge of D.C. summer before movin’ on and movin’ out. Midwest, ho! I spent a week in Indiana, marked first by dog days and life talks with A and then a lovely lunch with V and fiancé. The end of the week concluded with a sibling reunion of brotherly love, not to mention a scary glimpse at next year’s graduation.
Homeward bound, with love! And so the hermit life began.
Since coming home, there’s been a fair shake of straight chillin’. Life here is real and necessary and really necessary. It’s far from the buzzing eventfulness you might normally hear from me. Real life happens at a slower, steadier pace – beauty without the “glamour” of busy, shall we say. But keepin’ it real is rule #1. Onwards!
I’ve taken a moment to just hit the stop key on life. I’m letting my hair whip in the wind of Pacific Coast Highway, as I sing loudly and egregiously out-of-tune to whatever is on the radio. Windows down, music up. Yoga has been a rewind and reset switch. Beaching has been the play button. I’ve spent hours with AL doing major catchup and days on the sand with AT. Somewhere in the mix, I’ve found my way to Los Angeles with SC to visit friends C, M, and P at UCLA and Pasadena.
Watchin': Breaking Bad. I’m late to the party. And nobody was surprised ever.
Chillin’ to the sound of: this summery house beat
Dancin’ like nobody’s watching to: Equal parts Fitz and Foster
Readin': Nada enchilada. Book recommendations, anyone? Please?
Thinkin’ bout: Chapter One & A Half
I keep talking about this subject. Some of you are intrigued. Most of you are thinking, “Please don’t make me do math.”
It’s Monday. Math be gone! We’re keeping banter light and refreshing. Just like the lemonade/iced tea/sangria you’re drinking.
So what is this Chapter One & A Half?
Let’s call it the unmarked middle ground. It’s found roughly at the intersection of Chapter 1: Yo, I’m a kid (ft. Nintendo 64 & Lunchables, middle school…ugh, stubborn teenagedom, and red solo cup = premium dishware?) and Chapter 2: Dear world, I’m a grown-up (ft. everything else).
Since finishing this past semester at Georgetown, I’ve found myself thinking about uncertainty. This conversation about in-betweens comes in light of life talks with friends, many of whom just graduated from college. With 20ish years under our belts, we’re increasingly asked, “So, what are you going to do with your life?”
It’s like a gameshow question! Seemingly impossible to answer. Bound to make your brain sweat a little. And while “I don’t know” isn’t a wrong answer, it may very well put you in double jeopardy.
Some of us have a good answer, or something that sounds a lot like one. Others of us have become masters at changing the subject.
Weather? Amanda Bynes’ meltdowns. Sports!! Happy hour?! Anything will do.
Uncertainty is at the core of this mid-chapter crisis. Destination without direction (like whoa).
It’s the equal but opposite pull in two directions that causes one to feel as if they’re straddling the present and future…one foot in and one foot out. Especially at this age, it’s easy to feel like our heads are in the clouds, while our feet are tied to the ground. For newly graduated friends, it may be the idea of career or family or financial security or evolving relationships.
For me, it stems from these strange two weeks between Spring and Summer. These jam-packed three months of interning at Google between junior and senior year in D.C.. This exciting fourth year of Georgetown between college and real life.
Simply put, Chapter One & A Half is the uncertainty and discomfort that comes with not knowing what comes next. For those who have had a relatively certain path until now, this idea of not knowing is terrifying. It goes against everything we know.
Perhaps though, that’s the point. Chapter One & A Half is not about knowing. It’s about figuring it out. What a life this would be if we knew everything already? If we chose to forego the exploring and the adventuring. And the trying and the failing and the everything-in-between that is embodied by figuring it out.
As my dear friend C joked:
“Figuring out is not optional. That’s why we do it.”
So as I write this Monday, I’m staring uncertainty squarely in the face. It reminds me, and hopefully you too, that we grow as people at the brink of our (dis)comfort zone. Here, we realize how the world looks brighter after we’ve opened closed eyes. Somehow, not seeing enables us to see better. It doesn’t change how clear something is, but it may change how clearly we can see it.
And as for certainty? Well, that’s only half of it.